Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar warned French Jews that if far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen wins, they must leave the country, EJP reported Saturday. Lazar also praised President Vladimir Putin’s attitude towards Jews in the same speech.
Addressing an audience of more than 2,000 at the Limmud FSU conference in Moscow, Rabbi Lazar said “the situation in Europe is very worrying,” and suggested that “If Marine Le Pen is elected president of France, the Jews must leave.”
Rabbi Lazar voiced his concern about the rise of nationalism across Europe. “The situation there is very worrisome,” he said. “Not only because of immigrants, but also because the general population is heading toward radicalization. The best example of this is the rise of extreme-right parties.”
France goes to the polls on Sunday to vote in the first round of presidential elections. None of the 11 candidates running are expected to get an outright majority of votes; the leading contenders will face off again for the final vote May 7. Marine Le Pen, who heads the far-right National Front party, will likely join centrist Emmanuel Macron in the top slots. Le Pen has been accused of anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying comments.
Russia’s chief rabbi also praised President Putin, whom, he argued, “was the first president to publicly speak out against anti-Semitism and did the most for the Jews in Russia.” Lazar suggested “there is no institutional anti-Semitism in Russia, where the attitude toward the Jews is excellent.”
He stated that “in contrast with Gorbachev and Yeltsin, who were not interested in hearing about the situation of the Jews in Russia, Putin was the first to say that anti-Semitism has no place in Russia.” He pointed to the Limmud FSU event as proof that Russian Jewry is thriving under Putin’s rule.